Improvised Life » creative process http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:00:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 James Baldwin on Making a Leap http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/james-baldwin-making-leap/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/james-baldwin-making-leap/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:00:05 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45143

Richard Avedon/The Avedon Foundation

From our friend Marella Consolini:

I recently read an interview with James Baldwin in a 1984 Paris Review. To me, fascinating under any circumstance, but of course thought of you because of his mention of a deep and personal leap. Details:

Was there an instant you knew you were going to write, to be a writer rather than anything else?

BALDWIN: Yes. The death of my father. Until my father died I thought I could do something else. I had wanted to be a musician, thought of being a painter, thought of being an actor. This was all before I was nineteen. Given (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/james-baldwin-making-leap/feed/ 2 Air Baths and Other Ways to Enhance Creativity http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/daily-rituals-artists-work/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/daily-rituals-artists-work/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:15:17 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45477

At Improvised life,  we’re always interested in ways to become more creative and productive. So when we came across Mason Currey’s latest book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work we were excited. Currey describes personal quirks and daily rituals developed by many of the world’s great artists, musicians and film makers.

From the bizarre right through to the strikingly simple – the book reminds us that we all work in individual and often improvised ways: (more…)

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Why Walking Helps Us Think + Create http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/09/walking-helps-us-think-create/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/09/walking-helps-us-think-create/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:32:38 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45240

Richard Tuvey

In this week's New Yorker, Ferris Jabr describes research that shows why walking goes beyond being a great physical exercise, but a catalyst for creative thinking as well. We go for a walk daily in the park we look out on. Every time, we discover something new AND find our mind shifting, ideas sparking, problems beginning to yield. Nature reminds us of possibilities...]]>
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Reorganization as Soul Cleanse http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/04/workspace-reorganization-soul-cleanse/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/04/workspace-reorganization-soul-cleanse/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 08:54:33 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45132

A 48-hour disappearance into the depths of my studio was finally interrupted late yesterday by a well-meaning friend. He peered in to find me on hands and knees wiping out the lowest shelves with damp paper towels.

“Jeez. Still at it?”

I swiveled and growled like a rabid dog, sweat pouring down, hair plastered, eyes raccooned by melted mascara. “I can’t stop now. This is important. This is soulwork” He faded without a word.

Panting, disheveled, covered in cobwebs, I sat back on my heels. WTF? Why did this reorganization seem like a matter of life and death? Taking a swig of ice water, I collapsed on the floor. Presently, it came to me why it was––and is––such a big deal. (more…)

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Maira Kalman on Daydreaming, Eccentricity, and Not Knowing What is Going On http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/maira-kalman-daydreaming-eccentricity-knowing-going/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/maira-kalman-daydreaming-eccentricity-knowing-going/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:10:07 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44690

(Vido link HERE.) Portraits in Creativity is a series of short-form videos by renown creative director Gael Towey about the bravery and processes of artists and artisans. Who could better start off the series than the great, wise, observant Maira Kalman?  Kalman’s drawing and writing gets to the essence of not knowing what is going on” and celebrates it. Which is why we love her.

The video is like a walk around New York City with the Kalman. It is rich with illuminating observations (more…)

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Exploration: Maria Robledo’s Frame Series http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/exploration-maria-robledos-frame-photographs/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/exploration-maria-robledos-frame-photographs/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:30:30 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43957

Maria Robledo

In May, we gave photographer Maria Robledo an antique silver picture frame that had no glass or mat; you could see right through it. Hand-wrought, it had a built-in stand of two crossing silver poles. To our surprise, Maria started using it as-is to frame cut flowers from her garden. Over the past weeks, she’s sent us a number of photographs of what has become quite organically her “Frame Series”. Gradually, the images have evolved to get increasingly daring, culminating in this remarkable one of a plastic bag. (more…)

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Holton Rower’s Money Art (Art Takes Money) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/16/money-energy-creativity-imagination/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/16/money-energy-creativity-imagination/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 08:00:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44144

Holton Rower

One of the many unexpected materials artist Holton Rower uses to make his art is money —physical paper money— rolled, folded and fashioned into all manner of unexpected scuptures. His concrete block filled with tightly-rolled bills resonates strongly with us, LOVING concrete block as we do for both their look and inherent possibilities, (more…)

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Grant Snider on Making the Leap http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/02/grant-snider-making-leap/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/02/grant-snider-making-leap/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 08:50:57 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43570

Grant Snyder

Grant Snider nails it again.

 

What leaps are you afraid to make?       (Make a list, real or imaginary, of what they are and why you want to make them.) (more…)

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Use the Difficulty (Michael Caine) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/25/use-difficulty-michael-caine/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/25/use-difficulty-michael-caine/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 08:17:53 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43429


(Video link HERE.) I was bogged down today in a creative funk, head-buttingly blocked, wandering in a dark wood, wrestling with a component for a necklace that is carved from clear, rock crystal so that it seemed, well… simply invisible. How do you showcase something invisible?

I recalled something I’d read in an interview long ago with actor Michael Caine: (more…)

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Improvising: Twists, Turns and Messy Failures to Arrive at Plan B http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/19/robert-dolans-twists-turns-messy-failures-arrive-plan-b/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/19/robert-dolans-twists-turns-messy-failures-arrive-plan-b/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 23:00:49 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43329

Robert Dolan

Artist Robert Dolan intended to make a tee shirt for a young man with leukemia who is now in remission. He made a history of his creative process for a grammar school art class to show the twists, turns, and often messy failures that he went through to arrive at…Plan B. Not a tee shirt, but a poster.

True improvisation! Once again demonstrating that it pays to follow that ball of yarn, wherever it rolls.

—Susan Dworski

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Steinberg, Shrigley and Shonda Rhimes on the Creative Process http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/19/saul-steinberg-looks-inside-creatives-head/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/19/saul-steinberg-looks-inside-creatives-head/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 08:46:38 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43247

Saul Steinberg/The New Yorker

Saul Steinberg drew his imaginings of what goes on in a person’s daydreams, and David Shrigley made a list* of the kinds of things that can come from that: (more…)

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Nathan Frey’s Briliant Modular Workspace http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/12/nathan-freys-briliant-modular-workspace/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/12/nathan-freys-briliant-modular-workspace/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 19:45:13 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=42874

Nathan Frey

We recently came across the Frey Desk at Kickstarter, a flexible workspace that quickly transitions from sitting desk to drafting table to standing desk to easel. A vertical mast supports the desk and shelf. The shelf is handy for holding tools, books and speakers. The desk top is a spacious 30″ x 40″, perfect for a computer and large projects.

Frey’s modular workspace is decidedly brilliant and, to us, pretty homely. Nevermind. It’s design could be a jumping off point for forging our own. We LOVE Frey’s design thinking about how a creative person works, and learning about his own process in designing the workspace.   (more…)

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Phillip Glass: Renowned Composer, Taxi Driver, Plumber (with Music) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/11/phillip-glass-world-renowned-composer-taxi-driver-plumber/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/11/phillip-glass-world-renowned-composer-taxi-driver-plumber/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 23:00:20 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=42366

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Recently, guest contributor Sinnae Choi wrote about the popular, simplistic “Do What You Love” notion that devalues the very real need to make a living. Composer Phillip Glass was one of the examples she originally cited of artists who kept working even when they had gained some notoriety.  His story is so compelling, we extracted it to make into it’s own article:

In 2011, Glass was questioned about his day jobs as taxi driver and plumber. He recalls: (more…)

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How Poetry Comes to Me (Gary Snyder) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/09/poetry-comes-gary-snyder/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/09/poetry-comes-gary-snyder/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 23:00:01 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=42890

Gary Snyder

When inspiration comes: you have to go to meet it…

 

From one of our favorite, endlessly-yielding books: The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry, and Translations. Open it anywhere to find a nugget.

 

 

 

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